Saturday, January 20, 2018

Just Judge

According to Paul, the cross has a legal effect in a heavenly court. (The clever people use the word forensic to describe it). Understanding the different characters in the court is important.

The father is the judge. His role is to decide if people brought before him are guilty or innocent, and if they are guilty what the penalty should be. A judge does not lay charges or make accusations.

The Holy Spirit is the “paraclete”, the one who stands in the court beside the person accused and assists them to bring their defence. He does not make accusations either.

Jesus said that he does not accuse (John 5:45; 12:47).

We are the ones appearing in the court. If it were up to God, there would be no accusations brought against us.

As well as being judge, God is also our father. We have all rebelled against him more than once. We have offended him many times, but that is not unusual. Children offend their father all the time. They often rebel against them or lie to them. Provided his children admit mistakes, a father is happy to forgive his children. He will often forgive his children, even if they do not admit their mistakes.

The problem in the heavenly court is that there is also an accuser. The name Satan means accuser. He accuses us before our judge. He can call the people who we have sinned against as witnesses, because they will probably be criticising us on earth.

The accuser says that it would be unfair if God forgave us, because he will not forgive him. However, Satan and his mates have not admitted their mistakes, so God cannot forgive them, although he is like a father to them. The spiritual powers of evil persist in holding power over God’s children who have wandered away from their father. He has power over God’s people, so he cannot just ignore him.

The accuser demands blood, because the penalty for disobedience is death. The spiritual powers of evil demand blood as the price for allowing the people they control to be redeemed and set free.

God is a just judge, who he has to be fair to everyone, so he has to listen to the accusations and demands of the accuser. He would have to declare all humans guilty and acknowledge that the penalty the accuser demands is correct, but Jesus steps up in the court before the judge and says,

These people belong to me. I shed my blood and died on their behalf. I am not guilty of any sin, so my blood counts for anyone who claims it.
The accusations of the accuser are defeated, because although we are guilty, the penalty that the accuser demands has already been paid. That gives us a “clean slate” before the judge of the heavenly court. The spiritual powers accusing us are defeated.

The other bit of good news is that once the penalty for our disobedience has been accepted by God, the rights of the spiritual powers of evil to dominate us are broken. We are declared righteous and redeemed from the power of evil at the same time.

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